Wednesday, September 7, 2016

It's Not a Safari Until You're Stuck

Today we were leaving Botswana and heading up to No. 6 on the map, the Caprivi Strip, just inside Namibia.

We left the lodge at Guma Lagoon and passed by this village with its fence of branches. That's another way to keep the animals out.


Another of these concrete block structures that we could never tell if they were being built or had been abandoned.

This man was making repairs to the roof. Look at his ladder...a branch with steps at the appropriate distance for climbing. Resourceful!

Mbusi checking things out before we hit the road...

And a short drive later, we were in Namibia.


More sable antelope...by now we were getting a little blasé about kudus, elephants and impalas. Sad, right? Manuel said we would soon be calling the elephants ABE...Another Bloody Elephant. There are 50,000 elephants in Botswana and I think I took a photo (or two) of every one! Unless it was something out of the ordinary, Mbusi wasn't even stopping the vehicle when we spotted an elephant. Manuel would point and say "elephant" and we would point and respond with a sing-song "ellie-phant" and keep moving.

We stopped for lunch...

We helped Manuel prepare, but he had some pretty explicit directions for his potato salad, so I noticed we all backed off. It was a yummy lunch with potato salad and leftover chicken from the previous evening's meal. Great attention was paid to the design of this vehicle, including a fridge, doors that drop down to become counters, and room to store tables and chairs.

Look at the short, stubby legs on the hippo...

Ostriches and their chicks...the chicks are hunted by eagles. Can you guess which ostrich is the male? A group of ostriches is called a pride. There are normally six females in a pride. The matriarch of the group will sit on all the females' eggs, but will keep her own in the centre and the other eggs around the outside. The male ostrich will often sit on the eggs at night. He doesn't know whose eggs are whose, so he moves them around and then they don't know who the eggs belong to. Nature is amazing...

Look at this huge baobab tree. The baobab tree is very important to African life. The trunk can shrink in the dry season and expand as it collects water in the rainy season. Elephants will eat the bark for moisture. The tree is able to grow more bark and so it can live for many years. It doesn't have tree rings, so it's hard to pinpoint the age, but it is believed they can live between 1000-2000 years!

When a baobab tree dies, the fibres will start rotting from the inside until the tree collapses in a pile of fibre.

We came across this huge tree and decided to get out and have a closer look...

Jim and Kim at the baobab tree...

A lot of initials carved in this tree over the years...

We saw these monkeys...

This monkey didn't look too pleased with us...

This little guy had a tasty treat of some kind...

Manuel told us this type of monkey has blue testicles. We thought he was kidding, but no...these are vervet monkeys and the dominant males have blue testicles. Huh!

These shrubs are taking over the landscape. Once they are higher, the elephants will use them for food and knock them down, thinning them out. People say the elephants are destructive, but they play a key role in maintaining the grasslands.

Another hiding pod of hippos...

Mbusi loved to go off-road. We almost got stuck once, but he got us out. Manuel said "It isn't a safari until you're stuck!" Well, I guess this is officially a safari.

Everybody out...because it was a travelling day, we had our vehicle with air conditioning, but it was so hot there was no way the AC could keep us cool. We finally just abandoned it, opened the windows and tried to let the hot breeze do its thing.

Sara and Pat are in there pushing as well...go, ladies! Someone had to record it for the blog, right?

And we're free...Ed took a tumble as the vehicle backed away. He was giving it his all.

Although we had seen many kudus, we had to admire this one. Look at the amazing antlers on this guy. They were huge!

You can see the water tower in the background. I was hoping that bucket on the lady's head was not full of water. No wonder they have neck issues later in life.

Arriving at our accommodations...the Mahangu Lodge. "We Better than the Best." Love it!


The children were always so friendly...

This was a lovely spot...we had a ceiling fan! We actually laid down on our beds and felt some air circulating. For the first time, we had a little afternoon nap.

Mosquito nets that we didn't quite figure out. To heck with it...

Some of carvings in the room...the Big Five.

This hut was the bar area...



An information board, which was a great idea...

A lookout tower, which Jim clambered up without his oxygen, and didn't pass out.

There were cute signs on all the trees...it was really a lovely spot.

How can you have a grumpy face in these beautiful surroundings? I guess I should have warned him I was taking a photo. Look at the beautiful table setting...

These solar jars were popular...they filled them with flowers and, in this case, a zebra and they provided nice lighting. This lodge is run by Germans and our meal that night was lentil soup, meatloaf and spaetzle.

A lovely sunset to end another wonderful day...

Tomorrow we're heading back into Botswana...


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